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The downtime for the damaged LHC has been extended several more months

DailyTech was pleased to report that the the world's largest particle accelerator, CERN's Large Hadron Collider was brought online early this month.  After several successful test firings, the initial testing was going ahead of schedule.  Then the excitement evaporated, with the failure of one of the transformers that cooled the collider.  Without its cooling, researchers could no longer operate the tunnel -- repairs were the only option.

Within a week, the transformer was replaced and hopes were high that firing would recommence.  Then came word that inspections after the repair revealed extensive wiring damage, and that the collider would be offline for 2 months.

With winter fast approaching, the downtime has been extended to 5-6 months, with researchers saying the collider will not be online until the spring.  Located on the Swiss-French border, the collider's repairs will likely be slowed by snowfall and weather.

The LHC is scheduled to shut down each year in mid-November due to these concerns.  It is expected that the repairs will not be complete before the shutdown.  The bad news was announced by spokesman James Gillies of the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

It will take several weeks just to warm up the damaged area from near absolute zero.  Then repairs can begin.  After repairs are complete, a month of rechilling will be neccessary.

The shutdown will end in late March or early April.  The collider is expected to be fully operational and ready for testing by then.

Mr. Gillies described the developments, stating, "They're going to have to open up and really investigate what went on there.  So that's going to be two or three weeks before we can put out something that we're sure of.  We are not going to be done with this before the winter shutdown, so there will be no more beam in the LHC this year."

Aside from technical difficulties the collider has been plagued with criticism, with some even directing death threats towards its scientists.  These individuals fear that the reactor could spell doom for the world with such particles as micro black-holes, despite the fact that the same theory that predicts micro-black holes, predicts they would evaporate almost instantly.

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Waiting for it....
By JasonMick on 9/24/2008 9:33:00 AM , Rating: 5
I'm pretty bummed about these delays, but hopefully the extra time allows them to fix it fully and figure out why it failed in the first place, so they don't turn it on only to blow that transformer again.

I'm still waiting for some protest group to label the failure "the hand of god" *winces*.

RE: Waiting for it....
By grath on 9/24/2008 2:47:40 PM , Rating: 4
The Hand of God is quite adept at throwing monkey wrenches.

RE: Waiting for it....
By amanojaku on 9/24/2008 10:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
How can the Flying Spaghetti Monster throw wenches when he's too busy handling his noodley appendage while watching the Big Bang? ;-)

RE: Waiting for it....
By Fnoob on 9/26/2008 10:19:32 AM , Rating: 2
Thrown wenches tend to sue.

RE: Waiting for it....
By foolsgambit11 on 9/24/2008 3:33:12 PM , Rating: 1
Every article on the LHC thus far has mentioned that it's on (or more frequently 'near', despite the confusion that word generates) the French-Swiss border. But this article is the first one where it was actually essential to the story to include that information. In every other article it was more like padding.

RE: Waiting for it....
By hellokeith on 9/24/2008 5:13:23 PM , Rating: 1
The upside Jason is that if global warming ever kicks into high gear, they won't have to shut down the LHC during the winter due to snow cover.

RE: Waiting for it....
By 4wardtristan on 9/24/2008 6:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
yeah im a bit sad by these 6-month-delays as well, i find the whole thing so exiting!

This is an act of my father...
By Jesus Christ on 9/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: This is an act of my father...
By Fnoob on 9/24/2008 10:39:06 AM , Rating: 5
Thank you Jesus.

Sorry about that whole Crucifixion thing.

By Runiteshark on 9/24/2008 12:49:55 PM , Rating: 4
Good job making me laugh so hard that everyone in the office looked at me.

By sweetsauce on 9/24/2008 11:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
Why are you trying to get attention jesus, we all know we have until 2012 before the world ends. Stop being an attention whore.

RE: This is an act of my father...
By hnic17 on 9/24/2008 2:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
don't worry jeebus, if the world falls apart b/c of this thing, at least we won't have to worry about the $700 billion that congress is going to want from us in taxes to bail out the banks.

RE: This is an act of my father...
By Fnoob on 9/25/2008 9:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
No worries about the bailout. We can look forward to a day when our inflation rate exceeds Zimbawe's - where they have a one TRILLION dollar bill that used to buy a loaf of bread yesterday, but today it's just not enough... wow.

Can you get Zimbawe currency in the US at a currency exchange? Methinks it would be neat to have a stack of those Trillion dollar bills. They'd make great christmas gifts (beats socks)!

Phew ...
By dondino on 9/24/2008 11:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
... the universe continues for another 5 or 6 months. Yes! ;)

RE: Phew ...
By ionoxx on 9/24/2008 12:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt it would be the end of the universe if something went wrong with the LHC.

We'd tare the universe a new space hole and the earth would be destroyed, but hey, they only thing that worries me is the lineup at the Pearly Gates.

RE: Phew ...
By YesButCanYouSellItonLateNightTV on 9/24/2008 3:56:06 PM , Rating: 5
I don't understand what everyone is so upset about,,, a few more black hos shouldn't be the end of the world, no matter how long they hang around, or?

RE: Phew ...
By dmdallas on 9/24/2008 4:48:15 PM , Rating: 1
That's quite possibly the most racist thing I've heard in my life...

RE: Phew ...
By PrinceGaz on 9/24/2008 7:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
Although less likely than it creating micro black-holes which don't dissipate (because Hawking radiation turns out to be a flase theory), or strange-matter; if the LHC triggers a quantum wave-function collapse, it will destroy the entire universe as we know it. So yes, the LHC could potentially destroy not just the Earth and nearby objects, but the entire universe.

By MystaEB on 9/24/2008 9:50:40 AM , Rating: 3
Unforeseen circumstances

RE: Hmm..
By Fnoob on 9/24/2008 10:35:58 AM , Rating: 2
"Undocumented Feature"

RE: Hmm..
By jay401 on 9/24/2008 1:13:02 PM , Rating: 3
"Some (Re-)Assembly Required"

RE: Hmm..
By PhoenixKnight on 9/25/2008 7:56:25 PM , Rating: 2
Prepare for Unforeseen Consequences.

By mattclary on 9/24/2008 9:13:21 AM , Rating: 5
With winter fast approaching, the downtime has been extended to 5-6 months, with researchers saying the reactor will not be online until the spring. Located on the Swiss-French border, the reactor's repairs will likely be slowed by snowfall and weather

WHAT reactor?????

By MrBowmore on 9/24/2008 9:17:55 AM , Rating: 2
The nuclear gordon reactor of course.

By PhoenixKnight on 9/25/2008 8:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps the LHC is just a cover story for something far more sinister...

Cooling transformer?
By rcc on 9/24/2008 10:58:37 AM , Rating: 4
OK, I meant to ask this after the initial article. And, I realize that electronics may have changed from "my time".

However, what kind of transformer "cools" anything. I can see it powering refrigeration units, but every transformer I've seen generates heat.

Is it Polaris? The transformer that masquerades as an icebreaker?

RE: Cooling transformer?
By Samdog on 9/24/2008 5:23:49 PM , Rating: 2
Precisely...I take just as written: one transformer cools the unit--the entire unit, and down to near absolute zero to boot! You just can use it within 100 m of snow....

RE: Cooling transformer?
By Samdog on 9/24/2008 5:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry...make that "can't" in the last sentence...burned by my own sarcasm....

By Oregonian2 on 9/24/2008 12:01:21 PM , Rating: 2
Located on the Swiss-French border, the collider's repairs will likely be slowed by snowfall and weather.

Snow shuts down something that runs near absolute zero? The snow is too cold, have to wait until the warmth of spring?

:-) :-)

RE: Snow?
By RjBass on 9/24/2008 12:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's more the fact that getting supplies and personal to the site in the winter months is much harder to accomplish then in the spring and summer.

RE: Snow?
By Samdog on 9/24/2008 5:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Yes...I can just picture that rugged, impenetrable terrain in the wintry French countryside--seriously? They could have practiced for winter in up-state New York. The thing is 100 m underground for heavens' sakes!

RE: Snow?
By Missing Ghost on 9/25/2008 3:02:32 AM , Rating: 2
In France... their heads explode when they see 10cm of snow...

By chris2618 on 9/24/2008 12:02:36 PM , Rating: 3
Just goes to show that the most used phase in science isn't eureka but "that never happened in the simulation"

RE: Eureka
By amanojaku on 9/24/2008 10:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was "What the f---!!! Who ate all the Cheetos?!?"

Ufo's at LHC
By MAIA on 9/24/2008 12:53:24 PM , Rating: 3
Ah ah !

Want some conspiracy theories ?

UFO's at CERN when the thing was about to go alive.

In Spanish with photos

One more interesting theory is about Quetzalcoatl, 2012 and the way he travels through time. There's a maian inscription about him and his travel method dating from the 9th century i think. Guess what it looks like ?

The LHC ...

Love this stuff ahahah !

I guess their prayers were answered
By Regs on 9/24/2008 9:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
The ones that wrote all those letters with death threats, warnings, concerns, suicide bombings... Will say that this is a sign from God.

Therefore I will like to postpone the end of the world until some time next year.

Most likely explanation.
By eddyz on 9/24/2008 12:45:54 PM , Rating: 2
OK - transformers and melted wires were supplying immense power to the electromagnets that are used to center the proton beam and curve it around the loop. Why they associate the transformer with cooling I have no idea.
Cooling is attained by boiling liquid helium (coldest substance on earth). The only mechanical systems dealing with the helium cooling are pumps/compressors that conserve the helium supply by returning the gaseous helium to a liquid state.

Fermi connection.
By eddyz on 9/24/2008 12:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
One more thing - the magnets themselves didn't fail. The magnet supports were built by Fermi. The design had an engineering flaw that made it through more than one review including engineers outside of Fermi.

By shin0bi272 on 9/24/2008 9:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
How much did this thing cost again? 9 billion dollars? What is it designed to do? confirm the standard model of particle physics? And now its broken? And people complain when the government wastes money on useless junk!

When it's ready to go...
By Farfignewton on 9/24/2008 11:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't somewhat traditional to say something inspiring when doing something of this magnitude? I mean, we got "One small step for man..." with the moon landing right? What should they announce on the loudspeaker before pushing "start" on this thing?

I vote for " Fools, I'll destroy them all! "

LHC Danger - not an issue
By PJ44 on 9/24/2008 11:51:52 PM , Rating: 2
Small mass = small energy = small effect. For there to be danger we would have to have been wrong on the whole theory of physics - possible but not likley.

By InvertMe on 9/25/2008 9:43:28 AM , Rating: 2
...I barely know her.

Ba Dum Dum

Created by the French!
By pauldovi on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Created by the French!
By Bateluer on 9/24/2008 10:48:07 AM , Rating: 5
I'm certain FermiLab went through its own growing pains, and LHC is several times larger. Any massive endeavor like this will experience problems.

RE: Created by the French!
By JasonMick on 9/24/2008 10:57:20 AM , Rating: 5
The U.S. only has one particle accelerator FermiLab. It is having severe funding problems as it has pretty much been forsaken by Congress, who are allotting it less than it needs to stay operational. Its on life-support thanks to private grants, but I'd hardly call it a world standard.

I'm not discounting the great advances discovered at Fermilab, just commenting on the sad state of apathy towards particle physics in the U.S.

FermiLab has had it share of repairs and issues, the difference is it does not operate at near absolute zero.

Additionally, one of the failures that cause CERN construction to take so long was the catastrophic failure of magnets designed by FermiLab last March.

These kind of things happen. Making comments about xxx nation being better than xxxx based on these developments is pure stupidity. We're all in this together, when it comes to LHC. It may be guided by CERN, but a quick look at the LHC staff, construction, and funding tells you this is an INTERNATIONAL effort. The weight of its success or failure is as much on the U.S. as the rest of international community.

RE: Created by the French!
By jtemplin on 9/24/2008 11:28:10 AM , Rating: 5

I read the first sentence and just knew it was wrong. FermiLab may be our most powerful but not every particle accelerator is miles long. The following site lists 26 in the US as of August 8.

Analogously, the University of Maryland has a very small research nuclear reactor. Many people don't know it even exists, but yet there it is! Same situation with small-scale accelerators I suspect.

RE: Created by the French!
By jtemplin on 9/24/2008 11:28:24 AM , Rating: 1

I read the first sentence and just knew it was wrong. FermiLab may be our most powerful but not every particle accelerator is miles long. The following site lists 26 in the US as of August 8.

Analogously, the University of Maryland has a very small research nuclear reactor. Many people don't know it even exists, but yet there it is! Same situation with small-scale accelerators I suspect.

RE: Created by the French!
By jtemplin on 9/24/2008 11:29:02 AM , Rating: 2
Oh give me a break. I blame Al Gore for that one.

RE: Created by the French!
By sweetsauce on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Created by the French!
By Samdog on 9/24/2008 5:52:01 PM , Rating: 1
Why do we Americans feel so threatened by alleged European superiority? They're our allies for g-dsakes! I know the comment was probably made in jest and no one should get all bent out of shape over it...but let's not gloat over each other's technical problems. I certainly hope the Europeans didn't gloat over Discovery and Columbia. And they stepped up to the plate after the WTC tragedy. It's in everybody's self-interest when we at least try to get along. And by the way...we can thank the French for 'discovering' microorganisms as the causal agents in infection, and for bringing democracy to Western Europe (although it hasn't been easy for them!). Ooops...scratch that sarcastic remark. OK, I admit I'm biased...I'm one-eighth French....

RE: Created by the French!
By Josett on 9/24/2008 9:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
(...) we can thank the French (...) for bringing democracy to Western Europe

Hum... I knew it must have stopped somewhere...

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